Buhari and the return of Twitter

Punch

The German philosopher, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, was racist when he wrote about the ‘inferiority’ of African culture but appeared right about the temperamental and emotional nature of black Africans; a pointed type of sensitivity that revealed itself in the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), when he let his emotions extremely stream out heatedly.

In his targeted tweet, Buhari warned the Igbo people stating that “those misbehaving today” would be “treated in the language they understand.” Buhari was making a reference to the Nigerian Civil War between 1967 and 1970 in which more than one million people died. Good God, what a tweet, who does that?

Twitter deleted Buhari’s abusive post, calling it offensive and harsh, for threatening the suspected separatist activists in the South-East. Twitter had only suspended his account for 12 hours.

As if Hegel’s view about the African’s emotionality was right, Buhari and his regime made a quick reactive judgment to suspend Twitter’s operations indefinitely. A big mistake!

The regime claimed that it blocked the microblogging site because it had been used for dissident purposes and criminal activities but most people around the world saw it as a raw enraged response that might have cost grave economic and social consequences to millions of people.

It might have cost lives, especially when vital public organisations like the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control had been utilising Twitter to disseminate information about the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the Buharian injunction or suspension, the Twitter account became inactive. I will not be surprised if now or in the future, Buhari as a person and leader does not face court actions to compensate victims of wrongful the suspension.

However, on Wednesday, Buhari lifted the ban on Twitter after seven months. This apparent sentimental reaction to Twitter impacted millions of Internet users in the country and cost the country’s economy more than $1.4 billion, Wow. All because of emotionality! A very costly reaction to a developing economy. Especially at a time when the Nigerian people are experiencing enormous economic hardship and unemployment rate is extremely high.

While the Buhari regime said Twitter agreed to give its officials the capability to take down tweets it considers a threat to Nigeria’s security, well, that was exactly what Twitter did when it deleted the threatening post from Buhari. Just like it did to former American President Donald Trump who repeatedly violated Twitter’s rules until he was permanently suspended from the site and other social media platforms.

The Buhari regime told us that “many agreements had been reached” with the mega social media platform which includes committing to establishing a…

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